International banks, alarmed by debt repayment problems of Latin American countries, switched much of their lending to safer Western industrial countries late last summer, banking figures showed Tuesday.
The quarterly international-banking report of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) said outstanding credits to non-oil-exporting developing countries fell in the third quarter of 1982 for the first time since early 1977. Loans out to non-oil-exporting Third World countries, which had expanded strongly by $13 billion in the second quarter, fell by $800 million in the period between July and September. Lending to major Western industrial nations, meanwhile, accelerated from $9 billion to $15 billion. The abrupt switch represented a radical departure from the trend of the past decade.